COP 26 and Beyond Coal and Gas Alliance

COP 26 can only be seen as a failure since there was no agreement to end fossil fuel extraction and use. Nothing short of that will even slow down environmental collapse. It is not true that the deal “keeps 1.5C within reach” as COP26 President Alok Sharma says. Already the temperature has increased 1.1C. We are on a path to reach at least 2.7C by 2100, if drastic changes aren’t made immediately.

China and India will have to explain themselves to climate-vulnerable nations, COP26 President Alok Sharma has said as the summit ends.

It comes after the two nations pushed for the language on coal to change from “phase out” to “phase down” in the deal agreed in Glasgow.

But Mr Sharma insisted the “historic” deal “keeps 1.5C within reach”.

Under the Glasgow climate pact:

  • Countries were asked to republish their climate action plans by the end of next year, with more ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030
  • There is an emphasis on the need for developed countries to increase the money they give to those already suffering the effects of climate change – beyond the current $100bn annual target
  • The language about coal has been included for the first time ever in a global climate deal
  • A pledge in a previous draft to “phase out” coal was instead watered down to a commitment to “phase down” coal

COP26: China and India must explain themselves, says Sharma by Malu Cursino, BBC News, Nov 14, 2021

Ed Miliband, shadow business and energy secretary, told the Sky News’ Trevor Phillips programme that “keeping 1.5 degrees alive is frankly in intensive care”.

He said: “The task of the world is to halve global emissions over the coming decade, that’s by 2030, that’s what the scientists tell us is necessary to keep 1.5 degrees alive.

COP26: China and India must explain themselves, says Sharma by Malu Cursino, BBC News, Nov 14, 2021
Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance

A new diplomatic alliance to phase out global oil and gas production was formally launched at the UN climate change conference in Glasgow on Thursday, signaling an emerging international front in the fight against climate change.

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, which Quebec announced it would join last week, is led by Costa Rica and Denmark, and now also includes France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Wales, and Quebec as “core” members, California, Portugal, and New Zealand as “associate” members, and Italy which joined as a “friend” of the alliance.

Core membership means the country — or province, in the case of Quebec — has committed to end new exploration permits. Associate members must demonstrate efforts towards an oil and gas phase-out, like ending fossil fuel subsidies. The alliance expects to add new members in the coming months, including Scotland, according to news reports, which could upend the United Kingdom’s oil extraction plans, given much of its reserves are in the North Sea.

“There’s no future for oil and gas in a 1.5-degree world,” said Denmark’s Minister for Climate Dan Jørgensen, at the launch.

Here are the countries that joined the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance By John Woodside, Canada’s National Observer, November 11th 2021

On 7 November, during the COP26 Coalition People’s Summit, I was on the jury of The People’s Tribunal on the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and its failure to address a range of issues. We heard from a range of rapporteurs and witnesses, each speaking with great feeling about the differential climate catastrophes on nature and on human life. Every minute, $11 million is spent to subsidise fossil fuels (that’s $5.9 trillion spent in 2020 alone); this money underwrites the cascading climate catastrophe, yet few funds are raised to mitigate the negative effects of fossil fuels or to transition to renewable forms of energy. The remainder of this newsletter details the findings of the Tribunal, which was comprised of Ambassador Lumumba Di-Aping (former Chief Climate Negotiator for the G77 and China), Katerina Anastasiou (Transform Europe), Samantha Hargreaves (WoMin African Alliance), Larry Lohmann (The Corner House), and me.

There were six charges put before the Tribunal concerning the failures of the UNFCCC to:

  • address the root causes of climate change;
  • address global social and economic injustices;
  • come up with appropriate climate finance for planetary and social survival, including the rights of future generations;
  • create pathways to a just transition;
  • regulate corporations and avoid the corporate capture of the UNFCCC process; and
  • recognise, promote, and protect the Rights of Nature law.

The jury of five listened carefully to the special prosecutor, to the rapporteurs, and to the witnesses. We were unified in our conclusion that the UNFCCC, which was signed by 154 nations in 1992 and ratified by 197 countries by 1994, has utterly failed the peoples of the world and all species that rely on a healthy planet to survive by failing to stop climate change. This perilous inaction has failed to limit the increase of the average global temperature.

In its latest 2021 reports, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the Earth has reached an average temperature increase of 1.1 degrees, while sub-Saharan Africa is close to breaching the ‘safe’ 1.5 degree mark.

The UNFCCC has forged an intimate partnership with the very corporations that have created the climate crisis. It has allowed powerful governments to threaten poor countries into submission, guaranteeing certain misery and death for hundreds of millions of people in the poorest parts of the world over the next two decades.

The UNFCCC’s inaction has permitted powerful oil, mining, agriculture, logging, aviation, fishing, and other corporations to continue their carbon intensive activities unfettered. This has contributed to a growing biodiversity crisis: recent estimates suggest that anywhere from 2,000 species (at the low end) to 100,000 species (at the high end) are being exterminated each year. The UNFCCC is implicated in mass extinction.

The UNFCCC has refused to democratise the process and to listen to those on the frontlines of the crisis. This includes the one billion children who live in the 33 countries that are at ‘extremely high risk’ due to the climate crisis – in other words, almost half of the world’s 2.2 billion children – as well as indigenous communities and working-class and peasant women from the countries and nations that bear the brunt of a crisis that they did not produce.

As the world confronts a rapidly escalating climate crisis – evidenced by flooding, droughts, cyclones, hurricanes, rising sea levels, furious fires, and new pandemics – the poorest, most vulnerable, and highly indebted nations are owed a great climate debt.

Powerful nations in the UNFCCC have forced a rollback on earlier commitments to global redress for the long history of unequal and uneven development between nations. Developed countries pledged $100 billion per year for the climate fund but they have failed to provide that money, thereby neglecting their own commitments. Instead, developed countries plough trillions of dollars into their own national efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and support adaptation to a warming climate, while the poorest and most heavily indebted nations are left to fend for themselves.

We, the jury, find that the UNFCCC violated the UN Charter, which demands that UN members states ‘take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace’ (Chapter 1). The Charter charges states ‘to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems’.

The UNFCCC has also violated Chapter IX of the UN Charter, ignoring Article 55’s demand to create ‘conditions of stability and well-being’ as well as ‘economic progress and social progress’ and to promote ‘universal respect for, and observance of, human rights.’ Furthermore, the UNFCCC has violated Article 56, which enjoins member states to take ‘joint and separate action in cooperation’ with the UN.

We, the jury of the People’s Tribunal, find the UNFCCC guilty of the charges made by the special prosecutor and established by the witnesses. In light of our sentence, we claim the following measures of redress for the peoples of the world: (list follows)

WHY ARE YOU ASKING US TO COMPROMISE ON OUR LIVES? By Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, November 12, 2021

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